Category Archives: Officer’s Corner

Articles and messages from the chapter officers.

Message from the President – April Updates

Charlene ButlerGreetings Fellow Retirees,

Welcome to the month of April. I hope each of you are well. Thank you for casting your vote in our last election for me to serve as your President for another term. I am eternally grateful for your vote of confidence in me and my ability to represent our APWU Retirees chapter. I am excited to bring you the latest important updates.

APWU 2019 Spring Seminar Workshops scheduled for April 17-19, 2019 at Cape Canaveral Florida. I hope each of you received the news letter sent by Doris Orr-Richardson giving the details.

On behalf of our Local APWU Chapter, I received a plaque from Eddie Caldwell, now past President of APWU Miami Area Local, for outstanding service, dedication and unwavering support to APWU Miami Area Local chapter. We are also proud of and appreciate the honor of receiving the 2016 COPA POLICAL ACTION COPAMATIC AWARD. We were created to win.

Now a bit of unfinished business:

I have been notified that we must have a “REDO” of last months election for President of our Local chapter because we failed to executed it properly. This means you will receive a new ballot in the mail to “RECAST” your vote for President.  We apologize to everyone for this error and hope this completely corrects and satisfies the proper people.

As always, I remain actively engaged in recruiting new members and seeking positive ways to make a difference.

In Solidarity,

Charlene Butler, President Elect
APWU Miami Area Local Retirees Chapter

Face the Nation You Are Winners

Charlene ButlerWill your income last? Can you sustain your income and life style for next 20 or 30 years? Many baby boomers can reasonably expect to live to be 80 or 85, or perhaps even longer, therefore, we must have sustainability. Let’s fight against budget cuts and privatizing the United State Post Office.

This is what can you do:

Call your Congressman and Senator to say NO! Stop adverse changes to our current benefits affecting our livelihood and the future of our families.  Also, teams of people are needed to learn your district, to walk your district and get to know the people. We can hold politicians accountable for the needs of the people.  We believe this is a clear path to the kind of victory we want to win.  Don’t complain about what you did not bring to the table before just know people need people and together we have tremendous power. We do not have to be hostages.  Let’s step up and fight for OUR justice.

As you already know, these are crucial times so we need to network with all unions and pull together as a whole.  Just as it takes an army of people to stand up and fight for justice it takes lots of workers to run a union organization successfully.  That’ why we need you, because the year of 2018 campaign is just around the corner and we more shakers and movers.   With your involvement we can increase our membership and get auxiliaries to help PUSH legislators on issues that concern us.  Don’t forget to protect your right to vote.  You must register.

Please join the retiree chapters, if you haven’t already.  Your participation is greatly needed.  You are invited to the next Miami Area Local Retirees Chapter monthly meeting on December 13, 2017, 11:00am at APWU Union Hall 2500 N.W. 97 Avenue, Miami, Fl, 33172. It does matter who you are but how hard we work together to stay on the right track.

I’m looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting on December 13, 2017.

Hot Topics: Expand, Do Not Cut Healthcare

Charlene ButlerYesterday, every Republican Senator but two voted to start the process of taking health care away from tens of millions of Americans. Mitch McConnell will now hold votes on specific health care bills, with Senators on both sides of the aisle offering amendments.

Our champions in the Senate are offering amendments to expand Medicare and make health care a right of all Americans. Call your Senators right now at 202-224-3121 and tell them: Don’t cut health care―expand it!

It’s not too late for the Senate to abandon Trumpcare and do the right thing. There are proven ways to provide quality affordable health care to every single American including expanding Medicare, taking on big pharma, and closing tax loopholes to ensure the wealthy and corporations are paying their fair share.

Thanks to massive pressure from grassroots activists, Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted the right way yesterday. It only takes one more Republican to avert disaster by voting down Trumpcare.

Call your Senators and tell them to expand health care, not destroy it: 202-224-3121

Thank you,

Alex Lawson

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Charlene M. Butler
APWU Retirees President

2017, The Year of Realized Purpose

Charlene ButlerBlack History Month is a month of recognition, reclamation, and resolution. Every February, we force America to not only learn more about its Black citizens, but also recognize that our history is American history too; and that it matters, also. This month also serves as a time when America’s Black citizens reclaim the attitudes and mindsets of our ancestors, who didn’t allow an oppressive political system and anti-Black social climate to keep them from dreaming BIG and achieving even BIGGER. Finally, this month is more than wearing African wardrobes and talking civil rights; but rather a time for personal resolutions to do better, act better and be better, not just as Black American citizens, but world citizens.

“YOU were created to WIN!!!” – Don Manning

The year of realization in America! As we set focus on life changing events, we must also look for some sort of peace in our Country despite the issues at hand. As we celebrate Black History Month we have to understand that we (Blacks) are magical in every way. Knowing that our President is attempting to change Black History Month to African American History Month just makes me ponder on how can someone who knows nothing about being a black man in America can make such a gesture. Black History Month is a way back into time to learn more about our roots and where we all started from. One thing for sure is that I’ve learned more and more as the years go by that Blacks were involved way more than anyone could imagine. I viewed the movie “Hidden Figures” a few months back and it was a breathtaking movie! The work of a black woman WOW! This movie showed me a piece work they were involved in that was so monumental for our country. These women exemplified poise, brains, and dedication through out their acts with NASA. I would never fathomed the thought of a female “Black” working to make America great and ultimately get the first astronaut around the planet. This was so amazing to know how impactful these women were made my heart smile! I say this all to say Black History Month is our month, our time to understand and dedicate our time to learn more about our ancestors. To know that we were behind the scene so much just shows how much we are in the dark about our great black women and men. We owe it to them to realize the truth in America. We are one of the most dominant races, let’s continue on great new legacies for our ancestors. In closing, I encourage you to work hard at your craft, dedicate your time, and continue to learn more than every before this Black History Month!

Be Great / God Bless

– Charlene Butler
APWU Retirees President 

Outreach to Members

Charlene ButlerDear Members,

As we start 2016 I would like to send heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our retirees chapter for your support.   As we approach our new year in business we will continue to offer excellent customer service to our retirees  chapter. I welcome positive changes and an overall great experience with challenges. We will exceed our expectations for changes in the future.

We thank God that you are blessed by our monthly meetings. It’s an honor and privilege to serve you and serve the Lord. We give Him all the Glory! Over the years, God has been faithful to us and has supernaturally provided for our every need.

God has impressed upon our hearts to give you the opportunity to financially contribute to the retirees chapter.   With more retirees joining to strengthen our chapter, contributions would be greatly appreciated, and support  very much needed to protect our benefits. I pray you are led by your wisdom and knowledge to help us. We  sincerely appreciate you and we are committed for the advancement and expansion of the retirees chapter.   May God’s continued blessings be with you and your family is my prayer for you. I will be  praying for you and yours throughout the 2016 year asking god to grant you the desires of your heart.

I recently applied for reinstatement with the “APWU-MIAMI AREA LOCAL UNION” so that I can better help the APWU-Miami Retiree Chapter. But, to my surprise I was denied reinstatement by the President and the Secretary Treasury of  APWU-Miami Area Local Union. I sent my letter of appeal to Elizabeth Powell Secretary Treasurer office to my surprise I just receive my denial letter. I was told Ms. Powell was apart of APWU EQUAL RIGHTS for WOMEN how is this justice.

I feel exploitation of power, political bullying, unjust cruelty and irrational behavior to over look and institutionalize the retirees chapter is being used. It’s my understanding that the “APWU-MIAMI AREA LOCAL UNION ” is not in compliance with the APWU” Campaign Motto “Good Service! Good Jobs! Good Contract!”  It seems they do not need support from the retirees chapter which paved the way for them. We do not receive any support from the “APWU-MIAMI AREA LOCAL UNION.” This is  why we the retirees need to support each other and expand our chapter “ASAP.”  From our retirees chapter we wish you and yours health, happiness and prosperity.


Charlene M. Butler, President
APWU – Miami Retiree Chapter

Out With the Old, Let’s Look for the New?

By: Sardebra Wright, Vice President

Hello Retirees! There has been so much going on that we need to discuss. For the past few months the President and myself have been battling with the local and the national to become full-time members of the local. One reason was to bring more understanding to the local members about the legislative aspect of our union. It was unfortunate that the past local President Paula Mullens was not supportive of the retirees,but now that she is no longer the leader of the local this is a new day. If I were a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz, I’d sing the song they sang when the house fell down on the wicked witch. The legislative issues that surround postal employees and retirees is important to our very existence. We have fought for our benefits and have endured mistreatment from management to make sure we receive our pension and health benefits without Congress trying to destroy us. The retirees make the union strong and even now we are on the forefront fighting for postal rights when postal employees can’t.

Imagine my surprise when we were denied the opportunity to pay more money to the national. We were told by National Secretary Treasurer Elizabeth Powell’s office that we did not meet the requirements to become full-time dues paying members. She failed to tell us what requirements we failed to meet when asked. Secretary Treasurer Powell wouldn’t return my telephone calls nor did any of the other national officers respond to our questions or our request for the minutes of the meeting held discussing our paying more money to the national. Astonishing! Who turns down more money for the right reasons? Two retirees on fixed incomes are asking to pay approximately 40 times more than they currently pay and the national says no way. We were disrespected and treated as if we were a threat to the members rather than retiree members in good standing. President Dimondstein bears the responsibility for his officers and their actions or should I say lack of action. These officers should not remain as the leaders of the American Postal Workers Union.  Elizabeth Powell should not remain as the Secretary Treasurer of the national union.  She has served honorably in the past but it seems that she no longer cares about the entire membership only her buddies in the APWPU women’s movement.  This present administration seems to be failing us.  We do more on our own spreading the word about the fight for postal workers than the national representatives put together.  The retirees are doing the job that the legislative department is being paid to perform and we’re treated like the enemy.  When our leaders fail to get the big picture, they fail at their job.  You have to have a heart for the people to represent.  You have to want to get in the fight everyday for the people who matter.  Our leaders appear to be overwhelmed and we need to put them out of their misery.  If we can send our local leaders packing when they become ineffective, we should do the same to our national leaders and as fast as is humanly possible.  Or should I say as fast as their little feet can carry them because they aren’t leaving any big footprints to follow in.  They all seem tired as if they didn’t get their iron for the day.  They are just collecting a paycheck.  Our vote matters fellow retirees, let’s use it wisely.  We need a new group to represent our needs.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Charlene ButlerI am honored that my fellow retirees have entrusted me to lead the retirees union at this point in time. My number one priority will be to protect our civil rights, our environment and the opportunities to do the right thing for the retirees A. P.W. U. Publication Motto for this Contract Campaign is ” Good Service” ! Good Jobs! Good Contracts! Now because we are a Self Sufficient body of the Government we receive NO Tax Dollars for its operations. Therefore if we receive NO TAX DOLLARS we must generate our own revenue, give good customer service and continue to promote our business in order to keep our future as Postal Workers. We need to get involved participate for the benefit of others. I am a long time Advocate in the community, one on one keeping it – real.

Retirees who are Non-Members should become a member of the APWU Retirees Union to fight for every aspect of their livelihood. We are under constant attack which is why we need to strengthen and protect our union. Additionally we need to be aware of our surroundings, and know our rights and responsibilities. We need everyone to help in the battle for our future USPS Brothers and Sisters. You have knowledgeable union advocates to rely on who pick up lots of useful information to share with other APWU retirees. We have to fight for what’s right the rule of thumb is still agree to disagree. Hopefully we can become unified and show our solidarity. The more we are united as one with our union Brothers and Sisters; the stronger we will be.

This is why although I retire after 35 years as postal worker, I have 46 years as a union member, and also a shop steward. I am currently a Public Insurance Adjuster for C.M .Butler A.C.A. Inc., and I am delighted to be the A.P.W.U. retirees president.

Charlene M. Butler, President

Moving to a Bigger and Better Future

By: Sardebra Wright, President

The time has come for my term as President to come to an end. In 2013 when I took office, my goal was to expand on what our previous President Wilhelmina Ford had achieved. We became more active with the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and I was chosen as a delegate for the state convention. We also convinced President Annette Taddeo to recognize and assist the American Postal Workers Union in getting the public to back us in our fight against Staples and Congress. In fact, the Florida Democratic Party made some of our goals a part of their agenda. We had access to Democratic politicians and candidates, gaining their support for postal workers and retirees everywhere.

We also worked with the unions comprising the South Florida AFL-CIO which helped us to understand their goals and allowed us to get rid of the myths surrounding postal workers and the entire postal service. Most people were unaware that the postal service is self sustaining, receiving no money from the federal government. Once people realized we generated our own money, they became as indignant as us about Congress saying that the postal service cost the government money.   They joined us in saying to Congress “if we get no money from you, how are we costing you money?” We had the backing of our sister unions to fight Congress’ attempts to make the postal service a piggy bank for their every whim.

Under my leadership, we established a website to keep our members informed and allowing members free advertisement of their businesses. We also have a Facebook page to show members the fun side along with the serious side of our retirees.   The retirees organized a Retiree of the Year event honoring former President Wilhelmina Ford and showcasing the talents of many of our young entrepreneurs in the community.

Like everything else in life, there will not be sunshine without rain and unfortunately the rain came from within. However, we weathered the storm and agreed to disagree. Isn’t that what adults do? Well, at least adults with common sense anyway. This is a volunteer position, with no compensation whatsoever. You have to have a heart to make things better for other people and be willing to help those in need. I will always want to help others, but it’s time to give someone else the opportunity to expand on my vision for this organization as I attempted to expand on Wilhelmina’s.

As I said there have been some bumps in the road. We’ve lost some members including June Brooks, one of our oldest members. We have retirees who have faced and are facing physical challenges. In all these circumstances, I have tried to be supportive because I’ve gone through the same things and it’s important to have someone say “I am here if you need me”. It may be a telephone call or a visit, or a turkey during the holidays. If I can help then I will, and that will never change.

I urge all of my fellow retirees to follow their dreams. Don’t think that you are too old to go back to school, or take a trip to Paris, or sell your home and buy a condo on the beach, or even find your soul mate. Age is just a number and 100 years is just a day to God, so go ahead and live. Let’s all work together to make sure that our retiree chapter serves our needs and gets the answers to our questions.

It has been my pleasure to serve as your President these past years. It has been a pleasure to work with Wilhelmina Ford, Thelma Jones, and Ricardo Cumberbatch, my fellow officers, as well as Alberta Ray Cutler, Stanley Gold, Jean Perry, Margaretta Cooper and Robert Alicea, along with other dedicated s members. I’d like to congratulate our incoming President Charlene Butler who takes office in November. Don’t worry I won’t be too far away, I’m the new Vice President and Sharon Forbes is the new Treasurer. I’m looking forward to serving the retirees in a new position with a new vision.  See you in November Retirees!

In Union Solidarity,
Sardebra Wright


The Postal Service is Not a Piggy Bank

By: Sardebra Wright, President

Most people don’t realize that the U.S. Postal Service is self sustaining. That’s right folks, we haven’t gotten a dime from the federal government in over 30 years and yet Congress is always trying to take money from the postal service. There’s a problem with budget cuts to the veterans, Congress’ solution is to eliminate Saturday delivery from the postal service. There is a problem with the country’s infrastructure, Congress says lets eliminate Saturday delivery and save money. What money? You don’t give us any so there’s a big savings right there. The government contributes 0 to the postal service so how did we become a burden.

And now Senators Coburn and Carper want to put a worker’s compensation mandate on top of the unfair retiree healthcare mandate that we already have. Even Ray Charles can see it’s all about the money. The postal service actually made a profit but because of the healthcare mandate a loss has been attributed to the agency. There’s a joke in the postal service about us being the stepchildren of the federal government. You see when there’s a benefit given to federal employees for their service, they would remind us that we weren’t actually federal employees because they don’t fund us. But…when they need us to report to work in horrendous weather conditions like a pending level 5 hurricane, we are told that as federal employees we have to report to work. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail which should be spelled with an e and a double l will delay the postal worker from his appointed duties.

There was a song in the 80’s that went “I love money, lots and lots of money”, which is definitely the anthem of Congress. It’s all about the money. You see if the postal service was allowed to update their services to include things like postal banking, bill payment, and different licenses, we would make even more of a profit. Somewhere there is somebody or several some bodies waiting to privatize the postal service and step in to provide no efficiency, no accountability, and little to no services. Recently, a union President in the AFL-CIO told me they felt sorry for us because our fight was heavy lifting. We know that, but we are not going to lie down and wait for Congress to take our livelihoods. We are going to fight this battle and win. The retirees have age, wisdom, and a can of “whup you know what” (remember the wrestler Steve Austin) that we are not afraid to open. You see we have so much to lose, namely everything. After working hard for over 20 years and being kicked out the door in violation of our rights, all we have are our benefits, and we’re not giving them back.

If Congress is trying to take our benefits, then we have to fight Congress with the one sure thing we have, our vote. If the politicians in Washington and Tallahassee and Miami-Dade, and the various cities don’t support us, then why are we supporting them? Kick them out the door! It’s not about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about Constituents. We’ve been visiting the different legislators and making sure they understand the concerns of postal workers and what we need from them. We are asking our Grassroots Coordinators and National Legislative Director to consult with us prior to contributing to any campaign. The time has come for unions to support candidates that truly represent the people.

We Got the Power

Miami APWU Retiree chapter president at a postal reform meeting
(l to r) Sardebra Wright (President, Miami Area Local Retiree Chapter of the American Postal Workers Union) Congressman Joe Garcia, Edith Owens (President, Miami Gardens Democratic Club) and Margie Lee (AARP Miami Gardens Director).


By: Sardebra Wright, President

At an early age, my mother drilled into my siblings and my head to always fight for our rights and for what is right. It is something that I will always live by. We all have an assignment on this earth and every day we should do our best to achieve that assignment, including improving our quality of life. I was forced out of the postal service on disability in 2009 under the NRP program which has since been dismantled. There is a class action suit that will yield cash settlement to be divided by everyone who was taken advantage of. It’s unfortunate that the postal service mistreats their employees and retirees. At this very moment Congress must be forced to act on our behalf. Many retirees don’t understand how changes will affect us, but they will. In 2006, Congress passed a bill requiring the postal service to pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance. We are the only agency, government or private held to that impossible standard. And again all eyes are upon the retiree.

Most employees are unaware of what happens to their pension when they retire. If you retire on disability, you are not subject to a postal penalty. The accepted retirement age at the postal service is 62 and if you apply for voluntary retirement you receive a 5% penalty for each year short of age 62. Did you know that the age for full social security depends on the year you were born? I was born in 1957 and my full social security age is 67 years and 6 months. So if I apply for social security benefits at age 62, I will not receive the full amount and I won’t be able to retrieve that shortfall when I reach the age of 66½.

Additionally, when you retire on disability, you are told continuously to apply for social security disability. Once you are approved, your postal pension is offset by 100% the first year and by 60% every year after that. In other words, we don’t receive our entire postal pension. You will get social security disability and 40% of your postal pension. Postal employees get a pretty raw deal.

H.R. 2748 also known as the “Postal Reform Act of 2013” would weaken the postal service; jeopardize postal jobs and retirement benefits for future and current retirees. This bill thought up by Representative Issa would force an increase in our healthcare contributions. When you’re on a fixed income you usually live on a budget and sometimes slight changes to that budget can cause big adjustments. This is why we have to get Congress to understand how their actions affect us. We have to put a face on the problem, so when our legislators make decisions they see us not words or numbers on paper, but people. We are making appointments with legislators and asking if we can discuss postal reform with them. We are fighting.

The time has come to stop being a victim because if we don’t help ourselves we will become volunteers. Frederick Douglass said “if there is no struggle, there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without demand, it never has and it never will”. We have to demand what is ours. We worked and paid for these benefits and the time has come to take back our power.